OCTOBER 2, 1945
NEW YORK, Monday—I have noticed in the papers that Christmas packages for men who are overseas this year should be mailed in the near future. Yesterday a man in the Navy sent me a telegram. He urges me to ask all those who are sending Christmas packages overseas to reenforce their cardboard boxes in some way. He says that mail and packages are so important to those who are away from home that it is a tragedy when anything goes wrong. Last year some of the packages that reached them were beyond identification. Things had fallen out and been broken, and it was a desperate disappointment to many servicemen. My navy man says he does not blame the postoffice, because he thinks they did an efficient job; but he feels the senders could wrap parcels more efficiently.
I remember seeing some experts packing in England once, and they were doing the packages up in a cardboard box wrapped in heavy cloth, with the ends sewed over.
I only pass this along because I think it is almost as disappointing for us who send out packages, when they do not give pleasure, as it is for the men who receive them.
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Yesterday afternoon I went up to the National Guard Armory at 142nd Street and Fifth Avenue, where a tablet was being unveiled to the memory of Colonel William Hayward and the officers and men of the 369th Regiment who fought and made a brilliant record in the first World War. This was a colored regiment, and they were brigaded with the French. Colonel William J. Schieffelin made a remark to me, as we were waiting for the ceremonies to begin, which had a sad aspect. He said: "The 369th was fortunate when the decision was made to let them fight with the French. They received their complete training as an infantry regiment, and were then able to function where there was no prejudice against them." He himself was one of the colonels of the regiment.
Present yesterday was one of the two Americans who received one of the first decorations given by the French in the war. He was a colored sergeant in the 369th, and he received the decoration for great bravery on the field of battle. The other recipient, also a colored sergeant, is now dead.
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The plaque by Selma Burke, the Negro sculptress who recently did the plaque of my husband for the Recorder of Deeds office in Washington, is a very fine piece of work. The ceremonies lasted for some time and, as the space between the armory and the river kept filling up with more and more people, I began to wonder whether shortly they would be pushing each other into the river. The flags and the different groups represented, however, made it a colorful sight. When we went inside the armory for Mrs. Hayward to unveil the tablet, each of the ladies was presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers.